Put First Things First :: Reconcile


Jesus said that when we worship God and are offering our gifts to God, if there is a brother with whom we need to be reconciled with, we must leave the gift at the altar and first go and get reconciled with that brother before returning and presenting our offering to God (Matthew 5:24).

Merriam-Webster’s defines the word ‘reconcile’ as ‘to restore to friendship or harmony’ or to ‘settle as in resolving differences’. Jesus called his disciples brothers (Matthew 28:10) and as co-heirs with Christ, is there a follower of Christ (a brother) we ought to be reconciled with? In order for us to be able to reconcile with men, we must first be reconciled with God. In other words, we must have believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world, to be part of the brotherhood for in believing and in receiving him, do we get to be adopted as children of God (John 1:12).

Putting First Things First, we must first be reconciled with God and we must reconcile with other believers who may have offended us or whom we may have offended. What a friend we have in Jesus, for while we were still sinners and enemies of God, he willingly laid down his life for us, so that we can be restored into friendship and harmony with God, settling the debt of sin once and for all, by defeating death and Satan, once and for all.

Points to ponder:
Are you reconciled with God? Are you reconciled with men/women? If not, stop your worship and first get reconciled before returning to worship. This is the best gift you can give God.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (KJV)
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Matthew 5:23-24 (KJV)
23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Advertisements

Jesus in the NT :: Mark


The book of Mark gives us a glimpse of who Jesus is in the  New Testament (N.T).

Attributed to be written by John whose surname was Mark (Latin Marcus) (Acts 12:25), the book of Mark has a dual focus on the work of Jesus; His SERVICE and SACRIFICE. The crux of the message of Mark can be found in one verse, in Mark 10:45, which reads “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark portrays Jesus to be the Servant and the Savior.

In the vision that Ezekiel had, one of the faces of the creatures with four faces is that of an Ox (Ezekiel 1:10). For those who have been raised in India, the sight of oxen being yoked with one another and plowing the field in servitude is a common sight. Jesus said I am the Father are one (John 10:30), meaning that he was One (yoked) with God (1 Timothy 2:5), in God’s mission of reconciliation of man to Himself and He came to serve unto Salvation (1 Timothy 2:6). In other words, Jesus was yoked and serving God.

In Mark, Jesus is The Servant of God, who came to SERVE and to SAVE. He is THE perfect Servant, with whom God was well pleased (Mark 1:11) for His great faithfulness in finishing the work of Salvation that God has ordained unto Him (John 19:30).

In Mark, Jesus is The Servant-Savior!

Points to ponder:
We have to be yoked in carrying the Cross with Christ and and we must serve Him. I believe the account of Simon the Cyrene carrying the Cross with Christ, along via dolorosa (the way of suffering) is to demonstrate to us that we are to share in the suffering of Christ and carry the Cross with Him. Simon the Cyrene, in the recorded account is said to have been compelled (forced) to carry the Cross (Mark 15:21). In the movie, The Passion of the Christ, the actor who played the part of Simon the Cyrene says the following words, when he is forced to carry the Cross of Christ: “Let everyone know that I am an innocent man forced to carry the Cross of a condemned man.” How ironic? It is we (and Simon the Cyrene) who are all condemned, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but it was Jesus Christ, an innocent man (2 Corinthians 5:21) who carried our Cross, not the other way around. We are the condemned and our Cross was carried by an innocent sinless man.

Now the turn is ours to repay that kindness and grace as we are called/commissioned, not compelled, to carry our Cross and follow Jesus. (Mark 8:34)

There are many Christians who want to serve, but not carry the Cross. As Christians, i.e., followers of Christ, the cross should be on our shoulders as we are co-laborers with Him (1 Corinthians 3:9) plowing the field to receive the seed and be fruitful, i.e., preparing the hearts of those who hear the good news of Jesus, the Servant-Savior. We are called to SERVE Christ as he served and become his voice to SAVE others from condemnation by sharing the good news of Jesus’ SERVICE and SACRIFICE.

Our duty is to be yoked with Jesus Christ and be a faithful servant of The Perfect Servant so we can receive the accolade “Well done, my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:23) when the Lord returns.

Every Missionary’s M.O or Motto


Hidden in the very first book of the Bible, is what I would refer to as every missionary’s modus operandi (mode of operation/m.o). This we can learn from the life of Joseph, but those who know the story of Joseph, would find it hard to consider Joseph to be a missionary. So was Joseph a missionary?

A missionary is one who is on a mission; God’s mission. Unfortunately, though many of us, as missionaries start out with focus on God’s mission, over time we tend to forget that it is God’s mission that we are on and not our very own. All those who have been reconciled unto God, by believing in His Son, Jesus Christ (born again) have been ordained the mission of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). Our mission in other words, is to proclaim the good news of eternal peace found in none other than God’s son, Jesus Christ. The mission that is ordained unto us is for the  Salvation of souls that are destined to die by being eternally separated from God the Father. In this regard, Joseph is a missionary; a missionary that was sent in advance to be used by God as the proclaimer of impending doom and the voice of Salvation (Peace) for the Egyptians (gentiles) as well as his kin (jews).

And he had an M.O! What was Joseph’s M.O? When Pharaoh summoned Joseph to interpret the dream, Joseph’s reputation as the interpreter of dreams preceded him, but Joseph took no pleasure in self praise or glory. Instead Joseph responded to Pharaoh, saying, that he could not do what Pharaoh asked him to, but God could (Genesis 41:16). Joseph’s m.o. was “I can’t but God can” and this should be every missionary’s m.o. or motto.

Points to ponder:
When you and I are on God’s mission, as ministers in his kingdom, let us always remember and remind ourselves by saying “I can’t but God can“. Let this be our M.O. Let this be our motto.

Genesis 41:16 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “I can’t, but God can give Pharaoh the answer that he needs.” 

Lesser known characters :: Archippus


Archippus was part of the church group that met in Philemon’s household (Philemon 1:2). Paul refers to Archippus as a fellow soldier (Philemon 1:2) and sends word for Archippus to take heed to the ministry that he had received in the Lord to make sure that he fulfills his mission (Colossians 4:17).

What can we learn from Archippus?
We must be fellow soldiers with other believers, supporting them in spiritual warfare, that is rampant in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-18). We must make sure that the ministry (of reconciliation of man to God) that God has given to us (2 Corinthians 5:18), is not only received by us, but that it is fulfilled. The good news is that He who began the good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

Colossians 4:17 (KJV)
17
And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

Philippians 1:6 (KJV)
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be a Peacemaker


Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

To be blessed, one must have the attitude of being a peacemaker.

What does it mean to be a peacemaker and why shall the peacemakers be called the children of God? Before Jesus’ birth, the prophecy by Isaiah entitled Jesus to be The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). At His birth, the heavenly angelic choir sang, ‘peace’ on earth (Luke 2:14). It is possible to have peace on earth, because The Prince of Peace came to earth, to do the will of God the Father, which was to reconcile mankind back to God by redeeming mankind from death and sin. He accomplished this on the Cross, from where he affirmed that God’s work of redeeming mankind to and for Himself was finished. In other words, Jesus’ mission was a mission of restoring peace; a peace that passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and all who put their trust in Jesus with their minds fixed on Him will be kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Those who have believed in Jesus are covenanted to have a life of peace (Malachi 2:5) as God’s royal priests (1 Peter 2:9). God commands that the life of a priest must be one of peace and uprightness, turning many from sins (iniquities) with the message of God’s Love (Malachi 2:6-7); a love so great that He gave us His only begotten Son, to pay the wages of our sins (which is death), by His very own life (John 3:16). The God given responsibility of a priest is to be a messenger of the Lord (Malachi 2:7); a messenger with the message of peace. In other words, to be a priest is to be a peacemaker, turning many from sin and reconciling mankind to God for we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). And all who are peacemakers, are in essence, emulating the very mission of Jesus Christ, just as a child imitates the character of a parent and in this sense are rightfully called the children of God. God is a God of peace who works to make all perfect (blameless without sin) through the covenant of the blood of His dear Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrew 13:20-21), and all who are peacemakers imitate God the Father and are thereby blessed as His children.

Matthew 5:9 (KJV)
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (KJV)
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Christian Acronym :: R.E.A.L


Me: What is my purpose in life?
Christ: To be REAL?
Me: I  don’t understand!
Christ: You mission is to live a life reconciling others unto God. You must have a Reconciliation Entrusted Apostle’s Life (R.E.A.L)

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (KJV)
18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Intervening intercessors


Exodus 32:9-14 records the event of how Moses, a servant of God, stood in the gap to stay the wrath of God against a group of rebellious people. We live in a world, much too similar as in the days of Moses, where people continue to rebel against God the Creator over all, kindling his anger and wrath, for He is a just God. We ought to be like Moses, intervening intercessors or in other words gap standers. Our ministry is to reconcile man with God (2 Corinthians 5:18) and turn those in rebellion into repentance for the Kingdom of God is near (Luke 10:9).

Point(s) to ponder:

  1. Will folks who know you consider you to be an intervening intercessor (or a gap stander)? If so, why and if not, why not? An intervening intercessor is whom God is seeking (Ezekiel 22:30)

Ezekiel 22:30 (KJV)
30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.